What are the different types of sheet metal?


From stainless steel sheets to hot and cold rolled sheets, there are various kinds of sheet metal available in the market. Depending on their manufacturing process, it is used in multiple industries and offers a wide range of solutions.

What are the examples of sheet metal?

Sheet metal is a metallic plate that is produced through the processing of slabs, semi-finished steel products obtained through the casting of molten metal. Depending on its intended use, sheet metal has specific characteristics in terms of thickness, size and quality.

They can be classified by:

  • material, since there are sheets made of carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, aluminium, CorTen, copper, brass, bronze, tin, lead, nickel, titanium. There are also sheets made of precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum;
  • type: sheets can be smooth, perforated, embossed, raised or corrugated;
  • coating: they can have different coatings, such as black, galvanised, polished, anodized, satin or pickled;
  • production process: sheets can be hot rolled or cold rolled and there are flat sheets obtained from coils, which are processed to eliminate curvature;
  • dimensions: they come in standard (commercial) or custom sizes.

The different types of sheet metal available depend on the manufacturing processes they undergo, too. 
Some of the main processing methods include:

  • bending;
  • shearing;
  • punching;
  • milling;
  • rolling;
  • welding;
  • expanding;
  • abrasive cutting;
  • waterjet cutting;
  • laser cutting;
  • blanking.


What is sheet metal used for?


Depending on the material it is made of, sheet metal is employed in various industrial and non-industrial applications.

For instance, steel and aluminium sheets are employed in metalwork as well as mechanical constructions.

Copper sheets, on the other hand, are very common in the electrical and electromechanical sectors.ria.

Bronze, in turn, is a versatile material with a wide range of applications. It is extensively used in the production of coatings, artistic artefacts, valves, springs, pumps and electrical contacts. At the same time, it finds space for food, maritime, petroleum and chemical industries.

Brass sheet metal, finally, is particularly valued in ornamental items, furniture, watchmaking as well as in small metal components and plumbing.

In recent years, sheets are popular for decorative applications, as evidenced by the use of expanded metal in architectural and building projects based on sustainability and modernity.


Expanded metal: kinds and applications


Similar to sheet metal in general, expanded metal can be made from the most common materials in the industry:

  • steel;
  • aluminium;
  • bronze;
  • CorTen;
  • brass;
  • copper;
  • zinc.

Technological advancements and the growing use of expanded metal meshes as a design solution for buildings and interior spaces have led to the proliferation of expanded metal with different shapes:

  • hexagonal;
  • random;
  • rhomboidal;
  • square;
  • 3D.

Versatility and flexibility are two characteristics that have contributed to its popularity. It can become a mesh that covers the exterior of a structure, giving it shape and movement, making expanded metal an excellent architectural feature.

On the other hand, it finds applications in the industrial field as safety devices and for air, liquid and light filtration. The expanding process it undergoes during production makes it suitable for creating steps, walkways and pathways with a smooth and uniform surface.


Expanded metal and its advantages

Among the primary advantages of expanded metal is its considerable corrosion resistance, making it a unique and sustainable element.

Resistance to the passage of time and external agents is ensured through sophisticated painting and anodization techniques, using immersion processes.

Anodization reinforces the characteristics of this metal, providing better protection of the final product (with a twenty-year corrosion warranty). The unlimited colouring choice is another added value of this process, making it ideal for any use.

Play of light, movement, three-dimensionality, alternation of solids and voids: expanded metal becomes the absolute protagonist of designing works that focus on a material that stands out from the others.

Additionally, it is one of the most sustainable metal products. Its processing and transformation takes place at cold temperatures. This means that mechanical energy and cutting blades are employed without welding.

As the primary benefit of this process, it generates no waste or scraps because no drilling is involved. Carbon emissions are then reduced, reducing the risk of environmental damage.

Expanded metal can be recycled and used in other processes. Aluminium, a material commonly used in its production, keeps its qualities even after being recovered from other structures.

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